A glimpse into the pop star’s five-decade love affair with our country

At a press conference in February 1974, on the eve of his second Australian tour, Elton John was asked to predict the longevity of his career. “You ask an artist that, and they’d say forever,” Elton replied. “I have no illusions that I will stay at the top forever. Every year I think this is it. You can’t predict that.”

Well, if you were to bet that Elton would still be at the top of his game in January 2023, nearly five decades after that exchange, you’d be on the winning side. The bittersweet footnote? Unlike Cher or Barbra, who turned worries about parting into annual engagements, Elton takes his final walk down Australia’s yellow brick road.

Elton John bids farewell to Melbourne with an emotional stop on his farewell tour.

Elton John bids farewell to Melbourne with an emotional stop on his farewell tour.Credit:Rick Clifford

In any other scenario, this would be as simple as Australia saying goodbye to a popular international artist. From Shirley Bassey to ABBA, Michael Bublé to Pink, there is a long list of artists accepted by our fair nation. But Elton John is different. He may have been born in Middlesex but he is an Australian son.

Elton first performed in Australia on October 17, 1971 at the Subiaco Oval, Perth. This was the first of 18 tours and more than 200 shows. Aside from the UK and US, Australia has hosted more Elton John concerts than any other country in the world. the Under Tour followed in 1979. world trip 2 1980 Jump Down Under 1982 Too low for zero in 1984. Up to Goodbye Yellow Brick Roadwhich only brought him here in 2020 and now finally in 2023.

In his own words, Australia is one of his favorite countries: “Some of my most memorable concerts have taken place in venues across the continent,” says Elton. “Australian audiences always seem to bring out the best in us.”

And yet the fabric of his Australian life is infinitely more complex – and ordinary – than the familiar path taken by a visiting rock star. Elton knew some of our more eccentric TV personalities, like Jeannie Little and Jonathan Coleman. His longtime publicist was the legendary Patti Mostyn. And then there’s his longstanding friendship with rock journalist Molly Meldrum.

Elton John (left) and Molly Meldrum at Countdown.

Elton John (left) and Molly Meldrum at Countdown.

The couple met in 1971, introduced by Elton’s former manager, John Reid. Touring Australia, Elton became a regular countdown. In a 2012 interview, Elton said to him, “You’re an institution. A mental institution, but you are an institution.”

The same interview included a leaked conversation in which John described pop star Madonna as a “carnival stripper.” Madonna forgave Elton that same year, but it wasn’t until 2019 that Elton forgave Meldrum. “We’ve had tears, we’ve laughed, but we’ve had a friendship that’s lasted so long,” Elton said.

https://www.smh.com.au/culture/music/inside-elton-john-s-five-decade-love-affair-with-australia-20230117-p5cd7q.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture A glimpse into the pop star’s five-decade love affair with our country

Jaclyn Diaz

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